Stepping Back In Time

Pittsfield, Vermont is a small New England town where folks can enjoy the best of all seasons. Hiking, biking, tubing, skiing, or even weddings.  Both Riverside Farm and Amee Farm Lodge offer great wedding venues and lodging. Another of the gems in this quaint town is the Original General Store of Rt.100, Pittsfield, VT. Step inside and you will feel like you have stepped back in time. To a time when General Stores were it. There were no big grocery stores like Stop & Shop. You went to the General Store for everything from penny candy to groceries, from a t-shirt to a warm to pair of gloves, from a cookbook to a hot cooked meal. And folks were friendly…always had a smile for you, because time wasn’t rushed. A trip to the General Store was a big day out and you might only go once a week.

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Pittsfield’s Original General Store has that same feeling. You’ll find all kinds of wonderful products there – many from Vermont. You’ll also find a huge wine selection, books, soaps, syrups, clothing, and more. But a stop by the Original General Store isn’t complete without  ordering up breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Truly a great all around experience! We enjoyed a robust breakfast after photographing for 2 hours at sunrise in 6 degree weather. After filling our bellies, we filled our shopping basket with Vermont made goodies for Christmas presents for friends and family.

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From a stay at Amee Farm Lodge to a visit to Riverside Farm, to breakfast & shopping at the Original General Store, Joe & Courtney Desena have created something wonderful in the little gem of a town of Pittsfield, VT   When thinking of places that truly embody the idea of “New England”, this is at the top of the list.  Whether you stay in Pittsfield or just stop by the Original General Store for a hearty meal, I can’t imagine that you would be disappointed. Happy trails and safe travels!

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Riverside Farm – Outstanding Vermont Event Venue

The first thing you see as you approach the event venue sight known as Riverside Farm in Pittsfield, Vermont  is the small covered bridge with a large American flag on the side of it. First thought that ran through my mind: How great is that? Their own covered bridge!  And then, as a photographer, I run through all of the great photo ops that fact presents for an engagement couple or bride & groom.

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The tale of Riverside Farm is really a love story …one which I surely won’t do justice to. The bones of the story follow the usual path of boy meets girl, they fall in love and get married. This love story took a slight veer when the couple decided to relocate to a small town in Vermont called Pittsfield (population 546) where they fell in love with a very special property. Wanting to renovate the barn and move in before their wedding, they worked hard to achieve that goal. Timing being what it was, the barn wasn’t finished before their wedding date and so they moved into the adjacent field stone house, hosting their own wedding in a huge tent on the grounds.  That’s when the love story blossomed. Once you visit Riverside Farm or Amee Farm Lodge, do ask to hear the full recounting of how one couple’s passion to make a better life for themselves became a dream that resulted in the reality of this fantastic event property.

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There are now two barns, a stable, a groom’s cabin, and a bride’s cottage all available for the bride & groom to make use of, enabling them to have the New England wedding of their dreams.  The antique barns are all post and beam construction and are nothing short of amazing.  They can easily host rehearsal dinners or large wedding receptions. Many ceremonies take place outside in the large field at what is affectionately known as “the kissing tree”, a lone tree standing beside a large rock.  But make no mistake, there are several wonderful spots where the actual ceremony could take place.  Both barns offer the opportunity to throw open the doors, essentially marrying the warmth of the rustic wood barns with the beauty of the outdoors. 

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The red barn (closest to the field stone house) is not only perfect for a rehearsal dinner, but also for the bride to make a long, dramatic walk out to the kissing tree to exchange vows.  With the bridal cottage in close proximity, it works really well. A baby grand piano looks very small in the expansive spaciousness of the interior of the barn. Plenty of antique cabinets abound with counter tops just ideal for buffets. This barn includes a large seating area with three red and white gingham checked sofas where folks can relax. Downstairs in the barn are two more rooms, one set up with a bar.

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The second barn is located further back on the Riverside Farm property. Its large doors opening at both the front and back make for a truly inviting reception space.  It can easily seat 180 guests with plenty of room set aside for a band and a dance floor.  Antique wagon wheels line the covered walk way into the barn.  A large, lone hanging bell with a long rope pull is situated outside the walkway entrance.  The ring bearer or a young groomsman often receives the honor of ringing the bell to call guests into the reception area for dinner. No doubt  this antique barn with its golden wood floors would have many wonderful tales to tell if it could speak.

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The bridal cottage is a bride’s dream. This adorable little red barn/cottage style building is so sweet I dream of living there. (Even without  a closet!) As you enter, there is a little upholstered  bench and a welcome sign in a small vestibule. Open that inner door and step into a bridal fantasy world. Yes, Welcome! The first thing you see straight ahead is a wood sugar-shack type of building inside the cottage which houses the bathroom with the single most fantastic tiled and river stone circular shower I have ever seen. The rainfall shower head has to be a good twenty feet above the ground. The shower is capped with a copper roof, turret style,  which can be seen from everywhere else in the bridal cottage.

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Back in the main cottage area,  to the immediate right is a seating area with a comfortable sofa.  Across from the sofa is a large dressing table and mirror, perfect for getting ready for the big day. Beside the dressing table area is a hook perfect for hanging the bridal gown: perfect for photos.

A full working kitchen is done in a most appealing cottage style. Seating at the large kitchen island works well. A second seating area with another sofa is off to the side of the kitchen. Climb the circular staircase, around the copper-topped shower turret, to arrive at the bride’s bedroom: the bed is centered beneath the peak of the roof and a sofa lines one of the walls.  Ladies, this cottage is a bride-to-be’s dream come true.

And gentlemen….don’t think they have forgotten about you! On the opposite side of the property, nestled amongst the trees, is the Groom’s cabin. That’s right.  A place just for you guys to hang out. This two-story building has an open front porch. Inside a large tiled table beckons a deck of playing cards, or maybe even a game of beer pong.  The kitchen area is more like a glorified manly wet-bar. There’s a grand country sink, a microwave, refrigerator, and a coffee maker. A good sized seating area with a sofa, two leather chairs, three hassocks, and a television will keep you occupied once the card games end. Upstairs is a groom’s bed flanked by a couple of twin beds so the best man and groomsmen may stay there as well. Large windows offer you woodland views of the mountain behind the cabin.

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The off-white stable barn not only houses a couple of antique vehicles (again, perfect for photo ops around the property) but  it’s second floor has sleeping quarters for up to 24 people (3 per room). Each room has a bunk bed: a double on the bottom and a twin up top.  Not overly roomy but if the bride and groom want their entire bridal party on property with them, this is a perfect  solution.

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Throughout the properties, tree trunks from their fallen trees have been utilized as the starting posts for staircases. You will find that many of the staircases, railings, and benches are all hand-hewn as well.  Little touches abound throughout both Riverside Farm and Amee Farm Lodge (see previous post). Owners, Courtney & Joe, have gone above and beyond to create the perfect New England country event space. But then, theirs is born out of love…love for each other, love of people, friends, and love of the earth.  The perfect place to begin your own love story, or to photograph one if you are a photographer.

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To reserve a date, book a room, or find out more about Riverside Farm or Amee Farm Lodge,   visit their website at  http://www.riversidefarmweddings.com

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A Vermont Gem – Amee Farm Lodge

Amee Farm Lodge , a beautiful B&B in Pittsfield, Vermont, is nestled in a valley between two mountains. When I first mentioned taking the drive to spend a night to my husband, I had told him it was just a couple of hours drive (like 2) from where we live in CT.  I had looked up Pittsfield on Google maps. Not realizing it, more than one Pittsfield had turned up in the search and I had selected the first on the list: Pittsfield, MA.  Yes, that Pittsfield is only two hours away. The Pittsfield I had booked an overnight stay in was more like three and a half hours drive. The extra time it took us to reach this lovely destination was barely noticed and allowed for us to leave our daily cares behind. Our reservation being over a Sunday night, we took a leisurely drive through the back roads of Vermont. It was a bright, sunny and chilly late fall (felt more like winter) day . The scenery was terrific and we stopped along the way for lunch in a quaint New England town.

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We arrived at Amee Farm Lodge as the sun was starting to get lower in the sky. The building, once a small white post and beam farmhouse, had been relocated from the road to the hillside where it was restored and  a large addition with a huge wrap-around front porch reminiscent of The Red Lion Inn in MA was constructed.  We made our way through a banquet sized room that held a long harvest style dining table with seating for 16 looking dwarfed in the space.  This room is so large that it houses an antique truck, a full size regulation pool table, a brick fireplace, a separate wood stove and a few other seating areas.

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Making use of geo-thermal energy, Amee Farm Lodge is a “green” B&B.  A long bench with a basket of slippers awaits guests in order that they may slip out of their wet or muddy shoes and ascend to the first floor, aiding in keeping the wood steps and floors in A-1 condition. We were greeted by Simon who  gave us a tour, acquainting us with the breakfast buffet for weekenders and the common sitting area for watching television, reading a book, or getting to know fellow guests. We were able to walk around the lodge freely to check things out with the exception of any guest room door that might be closed.

Our room “Hannah” was on the first floor in the front corner of the property. Numerous windows kept the room light and airy. Hannah seems to be one of the favorite rooms from what we were told.  I also fell head over heels  for “Goodrich”, a beautiful room on the third floor with wooden beams that reminded me of a Swiss chalet and a 2-person stone shower to die for! Actually, the owners had really spared no expense on the showers in the rooms.  All are made from stone with rainfall shower heads and are just striking.

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As the sun was setting, the front of Amee Farm Lodge was bathe in golden light and I looked longingly at the row of Adirondack chairs on the enormous front porch. It didn’t take much to imagine all the chairs filled with folks on a summer evening. (Hear the sounds of laughter and conversational  chatter?) I could easily envision a wedding party being photographed there or in any number of the interesting places on property.  How wonderful to be a photographer and have Amee Farm Lodge in your backyard?  Truly though, there is nothing stopping CT photographers (or any photographers for that matter) from staying at this beautiful property with engagement or wedding couples and making use of this property as a destination wedding.  Amee Farm Lodge has 15 beautiful deluxe accommodations but that’s not the end of the story! In my next post, I’ll fill you in on the fantastic event property, Riverside Farm, not even one-half of a mile away.

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